Last week was just the start of what is sure to be a ton of exciting TTRPG news. This week is GAMA, the yearly showcase in Las Vegas. It’s kinda the boardgame/TTRPG equivalent of E3. Basically, all of the big names in gaming get together for a big trade show. Everyone shows off the new and shiny. Most of the time the public is not invited.

Three big things happened last week, and I’ll touch on all three briefly. Wizards of the Coast released a video talking about the new D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide. We finally got videos to follow up on the D&D Content Creator’s Summit from a couple of the big name attendees on YouTube*. Last, we got this absolutely gigantic announcement from Darrington Press (Critical Role.)

(*Don’t worry. I’ll play nice with the YouTubers.)

The New Dungeon Master’s Guide is coming!

I’m not sure if I want to laugh, cry, barf, or all of the above all at once. Hey, at least Chris Perkins finally told us publicly that they know the writers royally screwed up the DMG 5E. I never thought it was bad, but I’ve definitely seen better.

I think the main detractor from the old (current 2023) DMG is the Encounter generation system. I have the thing bookmarked physically. I used the 3rd/3.5 Ed encounter generation tables and formula a lot. Back in ye olde days it kept things pretty reasonable. 5E has been obviously broken from the moment I opened the book. WotC admitted, quite a while back, that their in-house monster and encounter creation rules are different than what the DMG shows.

The flawed encounter and monster generation is why I switched to Dungeon Crawl Classics, Old School Essentials, and Pathfinder 2E. Ironically, all of those games approach encounter “balance” differently. I won’t say “old school is better,” but it’s a lot easier when I can just wing it OR I have a distinct system and solid math to fall back on.

Truly, I hope the new DMG is good for onboarding new Dungeon Masters. We’ve needed that valuable teaching tool out there since 4th Ed. New DMs should be welcome and I think we can all agree that starting out as a DM can be challenging. Many of us older DMs can remember having zero guidance on what to do or how to do it.

The only thing I’m slightly concerned about it all of the info in the Player’s HandBook and DMG pointing to the new Virtual TableTop. If every other section ends with the sentiment of, “Don’t use your imagination, just go online,” that’s book is probably going to get hucked into a lake and I’ll see you next edition. I really feel like the VTT with its microtransactions is going to lead to AI DMs and module-only style play. (More on that in another article.) And no, I don’t believe anything Kyle Brink said when he was going around trying to suck up to everybody.

Speaking of our good friend, Kyle Brink-

Two well-known YouTubers put out videos regarding the Content Creator Summit. I’ve sat through both and no surprise, I wasn’t too terribly impressed or disappointed either way. I won’t name the Content Creators in question because Universe forbid, I would be accused of harassing them. Apparently just mentioning one of these Content Creators by name is the equivalent to calling them a “shill,” now.

If I got an impression of anything listening to these two guys talk about the Summit, it was that they and other Content Creators took no end of flak from some fans about going to this thing. All I said was, “Don’t let them turn you into a corporate pawn,” and of course that’s where the misunderstandings came in. If you think I’m the devil, there were people out there doxing creators and worse from all accounts. That is really sh🦆tty fan behavior and I’ll have no part of that.

Even if I kinda don’t like Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro much these days, I’m never going to go all nasty on a Content Creator like that. I think WotC was doing everything in their power to butter these fine people up and tried desperately for some good publicity. I don’t think WotC received as much good press as they would have liked. Worse, Wizards had several of their ongoing operating flaws exposed and Dungeons & Dragons the game got mentioned somewhere amongst the uproar.

I feel I must come back to a point I’ve made about Content Creators of any kind, me included. If you put your name out in public, on the Internet, it is fair game for people to mention you in a blog article. It’s not right for people to bully, belittle, or harass a public figure. However, simply saying, “I saw Steve from Steve’s game channel do an unboxing video,” is fair game. If Steve doesn’t like being mentioned, that’s on him, unfortunately. It doesn’t matter if it’s a box of WotC swag or Magic: the Gathering cards.

If you talk about something on the air or in a blog, it’s fair game to be discussed. That type of speech is not considered harassment. I can say, “I disagree with you” even on Twitter and that’s not an attack on someone’s moral fiber. But try telling that to a social media influencer, I guess. Btw, “influencer” is not/nor has ever been any kind of a negative connotation.

Just because the word “Shill” appears in an article or even the title of one, doesn’t mean someone is being called a shill simply for being mentioned in the article. Kyle Brink isn’t the only one who can be taken out of context, FYI. Apparently, he continued sticking his foot in his mouth at the Summit, too.

I ask everyone, please just call it like you see it when it comes to WotC. They’re a big company. They can take it. If there’s a serious enough problem, their crack commando hit team of super elite ninja lawyers can send a Cease and Desist letter. Or I guess maybe they just send the Pinkertons to your house now?

I would almost feel bad for WotC following their Content Creator Summit were it not for the Open Gaming License debacle of January 2023. Their attempt at a new OGL almost put the entire industry into a tailspin. They would have gotten away with it had some Content Creators not stepped up and exposed what was going on. I still think it’s premature to say, “We won, but so did they.”

We’ve all heard how the summit basically went between attendee videos and Tweets that went out during the Summit. Some creators are reportedly considering getting out of the TTRPG hobby altogether. That sucks. I’m sorry. I’ve been there before, too. I came right back, though. Hopefully if any Content Creators leave, they’ll discover what truly makes them happy. Although it would be truly sad to lose anyone over this Content Creator Summit.

Yes, it’s great that people were invited in person and online. I think Wizards of the Coast would do well to invite a wider variety of guests next time. They’re not addressing the public directly in a way that is going to garner them any good publicity yet. WotC still has a very long way to go to earn my trust back as a paying customer. After that mess with the OGL, I may never trust them again. If they want my trust back badly enough, they need to talk directly to me.

Darrington Press has announced TWO new TTRPGs.

I don’t get to go to Gen Con for the almost 30th year in a row, but do you know who’s going to have a booth there? Matt Mercer’s crew is going to be on hand to show off two brand new TTRPGs. Critical Role’s publishing imprint, Darrington Press has announced they are finally going to release their own TTRPG rules. There’s a good chance some of our friends at Wizards of the Coast are crying in their root beer right now. Here’s the Darrington Press Blog article.

The first game is going to be called Illuminated Worlds. We’re told it’s going to be a D6 dice pool based lite rules system for shorter story arcs and mini campaigns. Sounds like it’s going to be pretty snazzy, in my opinion.

The second TTRPG they have announced is called Daggerheart. This system is intended for more long term, regular campaign play. This game could potentially be the next Pathfinder compared to what WotC is trying to do with 5E. (WotC still can’t figure out what to call their new edition. Sad.)

While we won’t know a lot about the mechanical details of Daggerheart just yet, it’s looking to be a system that will rival D&D. Darrington has promised to have a preview ready for Gen Con. I think this is great news for fantasy TTRPG fans. A rival to 5E would definitely be a welcome entry point to the TTRPG hobby and help share the wealth that’s out there.

Thanks for being here. I appreciate you. I’ll be dropping more details about this week’s GAMA expo as they become available.